What Happens If You Don’t Do Tummy Time?

What Happens If You Don’t Do Tummy Time?

Infants include various reactions when you place them face down on the bed or floor. Most of the babies hate tummy time and cry indignantly. They squall during their tummy time until they have the necessary muscles for lifting their heads from the awkward facing positions.

Some babies love the view during tummy time, while others are indifferent no matter which side they are on. But you must surely keep in mind that whatever is the reaction of your baby, tummy time will assist him/ her in developing the motor skills that will ultimately lead to crawling. In this write up we will be considering the meaning of tummy time, ways to do it, and various tips for encouraging your little one so that he/she will prefer to remain in a belly-down position.

Definition of Tummy Time

Tummy time means placing your infant on his/her stomach for playing. Practicing tummy time assists in the rapid muscle development required for lifting their head and eventually crawl, sit, and walk. But remember, your naughty one should always remain awake while you are giving them a tummy time and is under the careful supervision of the adults. 

When to Start the Tummy Time?

The AAP or American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents should start giving tummy time to their newborn babies from the first day after coming home from the hospital.

Total Time for Giving Tummy Time to the Baby

Start giving tummy time for a minimum of 5 to 6 minutes. Then you can encourage your kid to increase this time up to 15 minutes on the tummy. You can also divide this time into two to three sessions of five minutes each. When your newborn starts to get older, you can increase this time limit for a longer time. Older kids require more tummy time than the newborn for enhancing their strength.

Process of Doing the Tummy Time

The perfect time for doing the tummy time is when the kid laying flat for a diaper change or when they wake up from a nap/sleep. Clean and clear a small area on the floor or bed, place your little one flat on his/her tummy on a play mat or a clean towel. Surround the giggling baby with some of his/her favorite toys. Try keeping down the baby for at least 4 to 5 minutes two to three times a day. When your baby will start enjoying the tummy time, begin to keep them for a longer duration, thus shortening the sessions in the entire day. 

Never put the kiddo to sleep on their stomach. Sleeping in this position can significantly lead to SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. You can keep changing the sleeping position of the baby by giving tummy time. Place the kid with their feet in one direction for one week and repeat the same process in the opposite direction for the next week. 

Ways for Increasing the Tummy Time Duration

Now in this section, you will know various ways through which you can boost the tummy time duration of the baby. They are:

  • Keep an unbreakable mirror

If you keep an unbreakable mirror in front of the baby, he will see his face, which will be quite fascinating for him. Keep changing the position from in front to the sides of the baby.

  • Prop the Baby up

You can always prop the kind up by putting a firm cushion or a nursing pillow under his arms and chest whenever he/she begins protesting the process. Then when the kid is slowly comfortable, wean them off from the prop.

  • Be with your Baby

Sleep on your tummy on the floor with your little one side to side or face to face. You can offer some toys or chat with them for entertainment.

  • Tempt the Kid

You can tempt the kid with enticing toys. Circle the little one with those toys so that they will get tempted to reach them out. It will eventually develop their muscles and will help them to walk, sit, and crawl.

  • Place your baby on your belly.

You can also give the baby a beautiful tummy time while placing them on your belly and lying flat on the bed. But do not forget about the drool, kisses, and silly noises that will get as a bonus.

Importance and Benefits of Tummy Time

Tummy time comes with a lot of benefits for your loved one, which is as follows.

What Happens If You Don't Do Tummy Time?
  • Allows development of various muscles

Babies with more tummy time develop muscle strength more rapidly than those who always lay on their back. Due to the practice of pushups, the baby will develop the muscles in the shoulders, neck, arms, and upper back. It will also help him in lifting his head quickly.

  • Development of motor skills

Tummy time sets an early stage for developing the motor skills like crawling, reaching, sitting up, and rolling over. 

  • Prevents flat head formation

Tummy time stops any flat spot formation on the back of the head of your baby.

What to do if the infant hates Tummy Time?

In the first go, a lot or most of the newborns hate tummy time. But after some time, they begin to enjoy it as they develop the required muscles for lifting their heads. If your infant hates tummy time and starts crying each time you place him/her down, then you can do the following tips to make this process less torturous for them.

  • Change the locations

A scenery change sometimes makes the tummy time tolerable for the baby.

  • Try for shorter sessions.

Try to do tummy time for 1 to 2 minutes for the first time. The baby can do longer belly sessions when they become comfortable with the process.

  • Massage the feet 

You can start massaging their feet to make them feel relaxed and enjoy their tummy time.

  • Invite any older sibling to join the tummy time

If you have an older child, you can, in fact, invite him/her for the tummy time of the younger ones. It is easier for the kids to get down on the floor than for the adult. But remember to close watch on both of the kids during this time. 

Different moves during Tummy time

You can try the below innovative moves during tummy time with your kid. 

  • Tummy to chest or tummy to tummy

Lie down on a bed or floor, propped up or flat on the pillows. Place your kid on your belly or chest so that the baby is face to face with you. Remember to hold the child firmly for safety.

  • Lap soothe

You can keep the little one across the lapped face down to soothe or burp them. Place your hand on the bottom of your child to keep them calm and steady during the process.

  • Tummy Minute

Place the baby with the face down on the tummy for two or more minutes after each diaper change time. Begin for a few minutes and try to increase the time for shorter intervals at the end of three months.

  • Football hold or tummy down carrying

In this position, place one hand between the legs and under the tummy for carrying the baby down. Use another hand for supporting the neck and head of the child. Keep the kid close to your body so that they can quickly be accustomed to this position.

  • Eye-Level Smiling

Get on the same level as your child for encouraging eye contact with you. Place a rolled-up blanket under the upper arm and chest of the baby for additional support. 

How does Tummy time help in the baby’s development?

how does tummy time help

Tummy time is significant for every child for sensory, visual, and healthy motor development. Some of the most crucial developments are as follows.

  • Motor

Strengthen the neck, core muscles, and back of the child

Lay motor development milestones foundation like sitting, crawling, rolling, and many more

  • Vision

Assist in the hand to eye coordination. They look down at their hands and observe how they move and what they can do with them.

  • Sensory

Development of a different sense of touch on the cheeks, arms, and hands of the kids

Develops a body awareness sense with their movement and shifting of weights

Changing the position of the baby helps in creating a vestibular sense in them.

Final Thoughts

Tummy time prepares the child for the developmental milestones they are going to achieve in the coming time. By the age of three months, most babies can lift their heads to 45 degrees angle and up to 90 degrees by the 4th month. So always keep an eye on these milestones and keep doing the tummy time now.


Purvi Kothari founder of shishulife is a mother of one beautiful girl and growing her well giving her experience on how to tackle the kids.  She holds a degree in MBA and CS and currently pursuing PhD in business communication. Apart from writing a blog in shishulife her worlds revolve around photography, family, and baking.

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